When NanoWrimo began I told myself that at the end of it I’d share a snippet or two from whatever I wrote during the month. Being brave enough to do this is very difficult for me, but I rarely go back on my word (even if it’s only to myself). With that being said, I have two snippets for you from my current work-in-progress, Crack the Sky.
So you’re not completely confused you should know that Crack the Sky is about a guardian angel being stolen from heaven by demons so she can’t protect her angel-demon subject. The story is told from a 17 year old boy’s point of view. The first snippet is the beginning of Chapter 1 and the second snippet is all of Chapter 8.
Questions and comments are welcome. I hope you enjoy!
I shoot upright in the bed, heaving for air. Thunder so violent it rattles through the house, through my bones, has awakened me. I jerk the sheets away from my legs and hurry out of the room. As I exit the front door lightning cracks the sky like heaven is being ripped open (if heaven even exists) and I sprint.
Sweat drips from my brow as I plunge through the woods. Crimson leaves crunch under my footfall, black stalking trees just a blur in the corner of my eye as I blow past them. I don’t know where I’m even going, but I can’t stop my feet from moving, from pushing me forward.
Thunder and lightning crack the sky again, more aggressive than a moment ago and I shudder, but I do not stop running. I feel something pulling me, the center of my being driving me towards an unknown purpose. And then, deep into the forest, I skid to a stop, my feet sliding against the damp, slick leaves.
There, at the base of tree, lies a girl wrapped in dirtied white cloth. Her back is to me, her shoulder blades bare. The ground soaks up blood as it seeps from her back. She’s so pale, stark white against the red leaking from her and the decaying forest around us. Her body looks slack, like a dead girl.
Slowly, I tiptoe towards her, nervous as if she might suddenly rise from her dead state. Thick blonde hair drapes across her face. I crouch down and lightly brush it aside to check for a pulse. Despite her dead-like demeanor, she’s beautiful—pure and innocent, looking misplaced in this dark and scary forest. Barely a thud thumps beneath my fingers at her throat and I feel more relieved that she’s alive than I thought I’d feel. I didn’t want this stranger to be dead?
At the mall Leilani’s eyes sparkle with wonder even more than they did at my house. Everything is new to her. Everything. It’s an awesome thing to witness. The way she touches textures, the way she examines the dumbest things. It’s all so entertaining to me.
Despite the secret pleasure I find in being present for this, I still poke fun at this supposed naïveté from her. She’s fondling a crucifix necklace, looking completely perplexed when I ask, “What? You don’t recognize your own savior?”
Her eyes shoot daggers at me and I can’t help but laugh at her once again. She answers my arrogance with, “Well Jesus did die on the cross in this way, but he looks nothing like the man on this cross.”
“Oh, is that so?” I chuckle. “Tell that to the overzealous Christians. I’m sure they’d love to argue that one with you.”
She releases the cross and watches it swing to a stop. Her obvious disappointment with my flippant attitude is starting to make me feel guilty and I never feel guilty for anything. I change my tactics. I brought her here for the reward of spoiling her. Spoiling doesn’t involve rude rhetoric. Or at least it shouldn’t (though my father would know nothing of that).
I pull her towards a coat rack full of puffy snow coats that make people look like colored marshmallows. She brushes her hand against one, but doesn’t seem to be satisfied with its sleek exterior. She disregards the rest of the coats on the rack entirely and drifts to one offering a variety of peacoats. I assume she’s appalled by anything in darker shades because her fingers always reach for ones in white or ivory automatically.
Her eyes hold a fondness for the one she’s examining now. It’s a hooded wool peacoat in white, with a fur inlay and silver buckles. She touches it slowly, gently, as if it’s something special and deserves respect. It’s just a darn coat. I wonder if maybe she needs to understand that, that it’s just an object to be worn when it’s cold outside. I start to explain it to her when suddenly she yanks off my borrowed coat, letting it fall to the floor, and frees the white peacoat from its hanger.
She slips into the coat in one swift movement, immediately raising its hood to cover her head. Her eyes close and she holds the coat closed around her with a peaceful expression on her face. The one she’s chosen fits her perfectly, hugging her curves the way it’s designed to do.
“Is that the one you want?” I ask, completely enthralled by the appreciation she holds for such a simple thing.
Without opening her eyes she reaches for my hand and presses my palm inside the coat to feel the fur. Our faces are close and she whispers now, a smile still scrawled across her lips. “This is what my wings feel like.”
For just a moment I close my eyes too and let myself imagine them, imagine her story about being an angel holding truth. I see wings, so large they could fold around her and hide her entire tiny form. I feel feathers soft as velvet, warm and full of this fresh air scent. It intoxicates me, the beauty of it all.
I’m smiling, lost in this vision, when I’m abruptly pulled free by the sound of Mackenzie’s voice. “Tilian?” she sneers.
My hand falls from Leilani’s coat and the happy clarity I just felt dissipates as my eyes come open. I turn towards a clearly pissed off Mackenzie, sucking on a red lollipop in a wholly seductive and inappropriate manner.
She just stares at me for a minute trying to process what she’s witnessing, what this looks like: Me at the mall, after skipping school, with another girl buying her nice things. Mackenzie’s eyes flare like fire, but before she can completely make a scene I try to soften her blow flirtatiously. “Oh, hey, Kenz.”
It doesn’t work.